I was writing something up when this issue came up.

Everybody is wedded to a clique of some kind

Everybody is wedded to a clique of some kind or other

Can somebody tell me what the difference is between these two? The first sentence is, I believe correct. The rational part of me and my intuition both say it is correct. My intuition also says the second is grammatically sound, but I can't for the life of me figure out how or why. Do both of these communicate the same thing albeit in a different way?


Both are correct and mean exactly the same thing. In written English (other than written dialog) the former would usually be better because it's shorter and to the point. The latter is more likely to be found in casual speech, when the "or other" doesn't really add anything useful but fills a gap while the speaker thinks of what to say next. It's not elegant, but it's better than "er...um..."

  • Thanks for clearing that up! I prefer the second sentence to the first since it sounds more natural. The latter sounds a bit dry and mechanical. But I wasn't sure if they were both correct. Thanks again! – tuba09 Jul 4 '13 at 21:10
  • digi, so in formal speech one should not provide more than one option to whom are hearing? – user19148 Jul 4 '13 at 21:19
  • 3
    It's not so much that "one should not provide more than one option". "We can offer you a refund or replacement." It's just that "or other" doesn't add anything new because "some" is already unspecified. As tuba09 has mentioned, though, stating everything in it's barest form can seem a bit dry, so if the whole passage feels dry then adding "or other" can relax it a bit. So with "or other" it's not really informal, it's just more words than necessary (though not necessarily more words than you'd like). – digitig Jul 4 '13 at 21:28

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